I've been ask by many what tools and resources I use to prepare my trips, so I thought I would share them with everyone.
I guess the first one is to make the decision on a location to visit, one thing I've learnt if not to say, "I want to do it one day" one day never comes, you have to say, "holidays are due, I'm going here," then you've made the choice that you "will" go.
From the first post it's quite obvious I use maps, Google Maps is a great tool to get you started on your route, sometimes it will take you one way, but, with a bit of manoeuvring of the track your path can be set with ease. Google Maps allows you to see distances from stopovers and approximate times of travel. Once our route is selected, we fine tune it with the legs (time travelled) for each stop. The length of the legs depends on other factors too, 1. How far 2. What's available 3. Camp spots 4. How long our holiday is and finally, how much time we want to spend in our aimed location, in this case, we have two weeks off, and intend to spend five days around Alice Springs/Uluru.
Now a trip planning session wouldn't be possible these days without the Internet, there is plenty of site available to check out for things to do and see in all locations. I use Google search (no I'm not paid to promote Google) to find information and make a list of attractions and work out the beast things to see.
Forums are another means of planning, it's great to get advice from others experiences and my main forum is 4x4Earth, plenty of active users with some great tips and other advice.
Once We have the attractions We work out we're to stay, we love the idea of free/inexpensive camps and make good from "Camps Australia Wide 6" and apps like Wiki camps and Campee.
With many apps for camps and mapping available its make planning easy. The main mapping I use,( due to it not needing mobile reception) is Mud-Maps, this is a valuable tool especially once we are rolling and find tracks to do as it leaves bread trail to follow back if we end up in places no familiar with any of us travelling.
Trip advisor comes in a little handy and we hope our experience helps others as we rate and suggest places for others through their app, sharing your experience is a great way to express your passion and assist others to have a great holiday themselves.
We also use an array of books other than Camps Australia. Discover Australia 4WD by Ron & Viv Moon is a great addition to our collection as it gives some insight on many places to visit.the Gregory's 4WD Australia and its smaller version 50 Short Getaways are another compliment that just reinforces the things to see. Full of article on many areas of Australia, it has images that are very impressive and helps to make the dream come true.
I need to add, all these tools are great, but, if you plan your trip with others it's a good idea to get everyone's points as they may not be interested in the same attractions as you. We've been fortunate to have friends that we travel with that are likeminded and it easy to set the planning and all come together with only minor changes.
Pen and paper, "yes, these things do still exist" are great for quick ideas and draft copies of the plans, once established, by all means make an electronic copy, keep in mind you always need power to access, so wise to keep paper final draft readily available.
Now that we're. On the subject of electronic failure and paper, paper maps are always very handy to have on board, Hema have a great range with a lot of information on them while maps supplied by road side assist such as RACQ have the basic information to assist in planning routes.